UPDATE 8th February 2012
News received by the website:
It is understood that the work on the repairs to the Ticket Office should be carried out in the next two weeks.
(subject to usual caveats)
Queues built up this morning (Monday) as commuters and other travellers found the door to the Railway Station ticket office firmly closed, while red and white tape circled the building. A sign said closed until further notice.
With the only means of ticket purchase from the external machine the line awaiting tickets grew longer as some travellers unused to how the machine worked struggled with it’s operation.
Pipes burst; asbestos risk
Freezing weather over the last week led to problems on Saturday afternoon when pipes burst in the upstairs rooms and damage was caused to the ticket office ceilings as water poured down from above. With asbestos believed to be present, the 19th century building was evacuated and it remains now closed until a survey can be carried out.
Arrive early for tickets
Train users are advised to arrive earlier to purchase their tickets. Travelling without tickets can lead to Penalty Fares and not leaving enough time is not taken as an excuse!
Limited ticket range
From tomorrow it is understood that there will also be a manned ‘hand-held’ machine but this will not be able to offer the full range of tickets that could be obtained from the office.
It will not be possible to purchase monthly or above season tickets, not car park tickets, although these will still be available from the external ticket vending machine.
Neither will it be possible to obtain new or replacement Railcards, such as Senior, Network, Family or 16-25 cards. Seat reservations or any Special Advance cheap fare tickets will also be unavailable.
It is not known how long this situation will continue, but it shows the importance of keeping a manned station in Whitchurch. With a passenger usage of around 225,000 a year this service is essential to the town.
Building of character
There is hope that this will not affect the building too much as it is listed by Basingstoke Council as having local historic or architectural interest. Dating from the mid-19th century it is a ‘landmark’ feature and an important part of the town’s heritage.
Town Councillors have already been made aware of a potential risk to the building.